Online dating is becoming a more and more popular way to meet people for a relationship. There can be all sorts of benefits to dating online, but there are also some things to remember. As a dating site user and a former moderator for OKCupid , I’ve learned a couple of lessons about online dating. Based on my own experience, here are five things to keep in mind as you venture into this new method of meeting people.
Don’t trust anything 100% on people’s profiles
This should be common sense, but take everything on other people’s profiles with a grain of salt. It’s very easy for people to lie on a dating site, and many people do. And while people might not outright lie, they could be embellishing the truth or otherwise misrepresenting themselves. Be a little cautious with everything you see. This includes their pictures as well, since it’s not uncommon for some people to put up fake pictures downloaded from a search engine or real pictures that are years old or heavily altered.
Don’t put out too much or too little information
Most dating sites allow you to fill in a couple of blanks to tell people a little bit about yourself. You want to make sure that you don’t put out too much information on your profile. Beyond the obvious privacy risks, these blanks aren’t there for you to give your life story, but rather just a brief overview. It’s mainly so that you and potential matches have something to start a conversation.
By that same logic, don’t leave the profile blank, either. In my own experience, it’s frustrating getting a message from someone with an empty profile or who has filled the blanks on the profile with “just ask.” This can make things difficult for people who might want to strike up a conversation. Give everyone something to work with.
Give more than just one-word messages
On par with empty profiles, it’s also frustrating when people send one-word messages with something like “hi” or “hello.” When sending a first message to someone, give them more than one word. There was obviously something about them that intrigued you – try starting with that! Talk about interests that you both seem to share. Ask them about something else interesting on their profile. If you’re completely stumped, you can even start by just asking them how their day was. But never send just a one-word message.
Different people have different reasons for being there
Something else to keep in mind once you start talking to someone online is what their intention is. Different dating sites have different target groups, with some catering to people looking towards marriage and others oriented “just for friends” or for “casual encounters.” Typically, most sites that are more of a big tent with this aspect will have a place for people to say what they’re looking for. Keep this in mind when talking to people. Otherwise, you might start connecting with someone only to discover that you’re on two different pages.
Remember the person behind the picture
Finally, remember that this is just a website and that there’s more to the other person than just a few words and a picture. The main goal of dating sites isn’t to maintain an online fling, but rather get to know people online before getting to know them in real life. I know from experience that there can be a very big difference between how people seem online and how they act in person, both for good and for bad. Keep that in mind if and when you decided to meet up with someone from a site. Prepare yourself for something unexpected, but keep an open mind.